I found this almost impossible to put down. If I didn’t have to work the day I was reading, I would have sat in the same position never moving except to flip the page until I had completed the novel. Even when I wasn’t reading the book, its plot remained in my mind, as it was so compelling I couldn’t turn away from it.
After Rachel Snow was kicked out of her parents’ house by her father when she was a teenager, her relationship to her mother and younger sister severely suffered. Now with her mother suffering from dementia, and Rachel being the one given the power of attorney; she finds herself once again at odds with her father. To make her stress levels rise even higher, Rachel also has her daughter Quincy’s wedding she is helping to plan.
Drew Snow has never been rebellious, brave, independent, or assertive like her big sister Rachel. Instead Drew has always been compliant and willing to squash her own feelings to not upset or anger those around her. Since college, Drew joined a band with her boyfriend; putting aside her own love of playing the viola to fit her boyfriend’s vision. When he dumped her as an artist and girlfriend; she found herself continuing her temporary job and unsure of what to do. When she loses her job she finds herself at even more of a loss, but then she receives a call from Rachel asking about a book their mother mentioned. Will this search for the special book bring the girls closer together? Or drive them farther apart?
In between the sisters of Snow, the book tells the story of the legendary female samurai, Tomoe Gozen. She leads the army in Yoshinaka’s military, also being his concubine. When Yoshinaka marries a girl from court, Yamabuki, Tomoe resents everything about her. But as the two spend more time together, they grow to become sisters of the Heart; and discover that both hold traits that help each be stronger.
I thought this book was phenomenal. The relationship between sisters was done extremely well for a person who doesn’t have a sister, as the author Margaret Dilloway, was able to truly capture the love, the anger, the fighting, the loyalty, and every other emotion that comes along with having a sister. Most novels that are divided between sisters often fall into making the girls one-dimensional, and typically the smart one and the pretty one. With this novel the Snow sisters are first split between assertive and compliant, believing that one is closer to Tomoe and the other Yamabuki; but as you continue to read the book both sisters show that they contain more than one trait and encompass characteristics of both Tomoe and Yamabuki.
The sections on Tomoe and Yamabuki were incredibly enthralling. My knowledge of Japanese history is limited beyond artwork, but reading this was incredible as it not only brought history alive, but brought on a desire to learn more of the time period. The fictionalized writing was extremely well done as every page I read turned into ten more as I had to know what happens next to Tomoe, how her and Yamabuki’s relationship will grow, and whether they will be able to overcome their trials.
One of the issues would be that you need a director/screenwriter who can transfer this from the print to the screen. They need to understand the relationship between sisters, along with understanding the culture of the Japanese. Like I said, I’m limited in my Japanese films so I don’t have the best suggestions. For the sisterly role, I thought Ang Lee did a great job with Sense & Sensibility. So he knows how to create that scene and work in historical fiction. But can he properly represent the Japanese culture? I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions.
This film also consists of flashbacks and the two story lines of past and present. This cane be very tricky. You need someone who can really plan those in and not just have them tossed about randomly.
My Choice of Actors?
This is a hard one. The family is biracial, with the father being Irish and a redhead and the mother Japanese. In an ideal casting, I would have Rachel look more like her father, leading to further issues as she can’t stand him, yet she (in a way) takes after him. Drew would look like her mother, even though she feels no connection at all to her. I also don’t know that many Japanese actors so who looks like a good choice?
The most important people are the four women, so they are who I am concentrating on.
Rachel Snow: Devon Akoi
So I picked Devon Akoi for a few reasons. First of all I haven’t really seen her in many things other than the Fast & the Furious franchise; but I think she could pull this off.
First I think she could pull off the red hair, as the character is described in the book, one of her hated connections to her father.
Second, the character if Rachel is very complex. She and her father have always had issues with their personalities clashing. She kind of was a wild teen getting into drugs and drinking, ending with her father kicking her out of the house. Since then she went to college, married, and became a responsible mother of two. I think Akoi definitely has done the party girl roles, and is ready for the more mature role of Rachel Snow.
Drew Snow: Yuna Ito
So I have never seen Ito in anything, but I thought she would work for Drew for a few reasons.
First of all, Drew looks like what most people imagine when they think “Japanese”. This is important for Drew as she feels no connection to her mother at all, as if there is a wall between them. This would further her pain and emotional estrangement as she looks like her mother, but that is all they have in common.
Secondly, Ito is a singer so she can understand the role of a musician, which is also very important to Drew’s character.
12th Century People:
Tomoe Gozen: Karen Fukuhara
Tomoe Gozen is described as beautiful, intelligent, and an amazing warrior; being Yoshinaka’s concubine and right hand person in battle.
She is tough, a great thinker, farmer, mother (even though she doesn’t have her own), good strategizer, and an amazing martial artist.
Fukuhara has already proven that she can handle such a role with her latest film, Suicide Squad. She is the perfect one to do this role and incredible woman justice.
Yamabuki: Miki Ishikawa
Yamabuki is another complex character. She comes from the court, and was raised to be lady and live a life there to serve her husband. Instead she is sent out to the country where she finds herself at a loss with how to deal with her husband, in this new environment, and how Tomoe Gozen does everything better. But with Tomoe Gozen’s help, she finds her place in this new life.
I have only seen Ishikawa in one film, Yours, Mine, & Ours and she had a small role in that. But there is something in her expression that makes me feel as if this is a role she could master.
The poster I imagine would be one of those split ones, like Mulan. Like the bottom half the samurai 12th century, with the top half the modern women or back to back
I couldn’t quite put it together but I see it in my head. If only I could actually make it.
Well, What Do You Think?
For more things I want to be turned into films, go to Why Isn’t This a Film Yet?: The Winter People
For more historical fiction, go to One Man’s Path Down a Road He Did Not Desire Versus One Man’s Path & Commentary on Hollywood: The Godfather
For more reviews, go to Bubblehead Versus Fashionista: Confessions of a Shopaholic